Next time it’s your turn to choose a crowd-pleaser for family movie night, consider the challenge not just accepted, but surpassed and pummeled into putty. That’s because you’ll come correct with our brilliantly researched list of kids’ movies that parents love too.

Believe it or not, foolproof family-friendly flicks that’ll keep the little ones glued in ’til the closing credits, make the big kids forget about their phones, and turn the adults into PG-rated film fanatics DO exist. They live in animated gems with lofty themes, action-packed thrill rides from serious directors, and reimagined classics that still tap the nostalgic well.

Ahead, 23 movies for kids and parents that are certified movie-night gold.

Wonka (2023)

production still for Wonka, one of the best new movies for kids and parents
Warner Bros.

The 1971 film based on Roald Dahl’s beloved novel still elicits pangs of nostalgia every time we watch it. The latest adaptation, starring Timothée Chalamet, Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, and Kegan-Michael Key, will trigger a similar wistfulness but also joy, wonder, excitement… and ravenous candy cravings—the grown-up kind—as the sentimental narrative is tempered with themes fit for mature palates. Still, the whole thing will make you feel warm and gooey inside.

Stream it on Max

The Princess Bride (1987)

"The Princess Bride" is a classic movie for kids and parents.
© Walt Disney Studios

Years before Shrek crawled out of the swamp, The Princess Bride reigned as the O.G. damsel-in-distress flick. The gist: A beautiful maiden is kidnapped by an evil king who desires to marry her. But that’s where the trope ends. Structured as a story within a story, this reinvented fairy tale is a satirical hit with Gen X and millennials and an embarrassment of quotable riches. As for the little ones? Silly sword fights, goofy creatures, masked heroes—need we say more?

Stream it on Disney+

Cruella (2021)

"Cruella" is a great movie for kids and parents
© Walt Disney Pictures

For a younger generation that grew up watching Descendants, it’s not difficult for them to reimagine classic Disney villains with streaks of humanity that are deeper and more colorful than their backstories. For grown-ups accustomed to seeing the world in black and white, it can be harder for us to root for the bad guys. That said, as villain origin stories go, Emma Stone’s portrayal of Cruella de Vil is a master class in flamboyance, pathos, and originality, and this daring and complex live-action retelling of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians will leave the entire family wanting more Cruella.

Stream it on Disney+

Enchanted (2007)

© Walt Disney Pictures

When it comes to the princess trope, you can credit—or blame—the original Walt Disney Studios. But that doesn’t mean modern-day Disney can’t do better, subverting unrealistic happily-ever-afters and instead celebrating smart and self-referential takes on fairy tales. That’s exactly what this 2007 gem does. Starring a pitch-perfect Amy Adams in a challenging role, Enchanted will delight wide-eyed kids and win over the most jaded realists in the room.

Stream it on Disney+

Hugo (2011)

movie poster for Hugo
Paramount Pictures

Not sure if you know, but serious directors make amazing kids’ movies. So next time you want to watch something with your little buddy and not feel the itch to check your socials, go with Danny Boyle’s Millions, Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, David Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon, Robert Altman’s Popeye, or Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids. For us, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo does it every time. There are trains, robots, clocks, pups, kids, a story about film and time; it’s top-notch child’s play.

Stream it on Pluto TV

The Little Mermaid (2023)

production still of The Little Mermaid

Disney’s practice of morphing the animated contents of its vault into live-action musicals has been a welcome trend. Its latest incarnation, The Little Mermaid, went over like a tidal wave with audiences of all ages, with little ones cheering through the photoreal musical numbers and falling under the spell of Halle Bailey’s vocals, and adults applauding director Rob Marshall’s modern-era tweaks to the 1989 classic about a mermaid who makes a deal with a sea witch to win over a prince.

Stream it on Disney+

Harry Potter Franchise (2001–2011)

Harry Potter
Warner Bros.

Few movie franchises have created a universe of such adventure, depth, and complexity as the wizarding world of Harry Potter. JK Rowling’s fantastical literary vision has captured the attention and hearts of millions of children and adults worldwide, and each one has been adapted into a film. There are eight movies in total, with Deathly Hallows split into two parts. When the family is done here, move on to the Fantastic Beasts spinoff series.

Stream them all on Max 

Related: 100 Movies Your Kids MUST See Before They Grow Up

Freaky Friday (2003)

movie poster for Freaky Friday, one of the classic movies for kids and parents
© Walt Disney Pictures

There’s nothing freaky about this most recent remake of the 1976 Disney classic. Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis rock as daughter and mother who switch bodies and realize that their respective lives aren’t always as easy as they might seem. Kids will sympathize with Curtis as Lohan’s knockout performance as a petulant-yet-precocious child trapped in an adult body; adults will resent (but understand) having our aged looks compared to the Crypt Keeper.

Stream it on Disney+

School of Rock (2003)

movie poster for School of Rock, a great movie for kids and parents
Paramount Pictures

Down on his luck and dumped from his band, Dewey Finn picks up a side gig substitute teaching at an uptight elementary school. But despite his character’s slacker vibe, Jack Black in no way mails in a lackadaisical performance. Instead, the wannabe-rocker role looks like it was tailor-made for the actor/musician. An epic mash-up of precocious humor and social satire, Richard Linklater’s 2003 rock anthem is a blast for kids, adults, and anyone who can shout, “Encore!”

Stream it on Pluto TV

Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017)

production still of Paddington, one of the best movies for kids and parents

Everyone loves bears, and Paddington is arguably the most beloved of them all. The two contemporary film adaptations of the 1958 children’s book, A Bear Called Paddington, combine computer-generated graphics and live-action to great effect. Charming and entertaining, children will marvel at all the adventures and mischief a cub can get himself into, while parents will want to care for the cutie themselves. Ready for another sequel? Paddington in Peru is set for January 2025.

Stream the first two on Netflix and Prime Video

Animated Movies for Kids and Parents

The Iron Giant (1999)

production still of The Iron Giant
Warner Bros.

Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, made a movie in 1999 that still sits atop the peak of his action fare. It’s called The Iron Giant, and for whatever reason, it remains one of the most underseen films of our time. About a kid who befriends an alien giant the government wants to dismantle, the animated tear-jerker wades into heavy themes while offering younger audiences exciting thrills and fun visuals. It’s just so good.

Stream it on Prime Video

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin (2024)

animated drawing of Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin

When it comes to the Peanuts, no one has an allergy. Fans of all ages have been enamored with the top-heavy toons for decades, and with the comic-strip animation created by Charles M. Schulz now in the hands of WildBrain Studios and Apple TV+, these lovable doodles are in good hands. The latest film to spring from the partnership is an origin story dedicated to Franklin, the new kid on the block who is having trouble fitting in.

Stream it on Apple TV+

Nimona (2023)

a production still of Nimona, a movie for kids and parents

An inclusive crowd-pleaser that scored an Oscar nod last year, Nimona is based on the same-name graphic novel by cartoonist ND Stevenson. The narrative follows a knight (voiced by Riz Ahmed), falsely accused of a crime and the redheaded shapeshifting spitfire (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) who can clear his name. Trouble is: He’s been sworn to capture her. If it sounds complicated, it’s not. It’s a brilliant way to package a story everyone can relate to.

Stream it on Netflix

Related: All the New, Original Kids’ Movies Streaming in 2024

Robot Dreams (2023)

Robot Dreams
Arcadia Motion Pictures

This vibrant film comes from Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger, but you won’t have to remember how to conjugate verbs to enjoy the show as there isn’t a lot of dialogue. There is, however, a bitchin’ ’80s soundtrack that parents will definitely dig. And as for the story about Dog buying a build-your-own Robot so that he can have a friend to pal around NYC with—well, everyone will love it (and tear up over it). For another tragiocomic buddy gem, see Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia.

Stream it on Apple TV+

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)

Production still of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem one of the new movies for kids and parents
Paramount Pictures

We’ve seen these heroes in half-shells in every form: cartoons, live-action series, ’90s movies, the works. But with Mutant Mayhem, the turtle gods finally got it right. Eschewing the classic traps of cheap costumes and childish illustrations, the crew behind the scenes went with a unique blend of 2D and 3D, resulting in animation that feels both nostalgic and fresh. It’s the same recipe applied to the narrative, which sees the boys navigate adolescence while ridding the streets of mutant scum.

Stream it on Paramount+

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

production still of Pinocchio

The maestro of monsters, Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) is a celebrated horror director, revered for bringing his cabinet of curiosities to life—a talent he continues in this Oscar-winning film. But don’t worry: It’s not scary. Instead of regurgitating the Disney classic, the helmer constructs a magical ode to the original material on which Pinocchio is based: the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It’s entirely its own thing.

Stream it on Netflix

My Life as a Zucchini (2016)

production still of my life as a zuccini one of the best movies for kids and parents

Rated PG-13, this French-Swiss wonder might sound like something you’d have to trick your kids into watching. But if you’re having trouble, just add cheese. Cheese makes everything better, including the tale of Courgette (French for “Zucchini”), a little boy with a red nose and blue hair who learns the true meaning of friendship at an orphanage. Co-written by Celine Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Petite Maman), this claymation delight is something to savor.

Stream it on Prime Video

Moana (2016)

"Moana" is a great movie for kids and parents
© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Like Frozen and Encanto, every parent has probably seen the voyager epic Moana a bajillion times with their little ones. But who can blame them? The animated musical has been bringing IT lately. But Moana might just be the most perfect production from the House of Mouse yet. Brimming with tunes that are impossibly earworm-y, brilliantly written, and deftly sung—thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalho, and Dwayne Johnson—we can’t get enough. Cue the November 27 sequel!

Stream the original on Disney+

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro
Studio Ghibli

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s anime masterpiece is both magical and melancholy, and for many, serves as the gateway to Studio Ghibli’s stellar roster (Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service). The beautiful subtleties and nuances of Totoro, a fantasy about little ones who escape harsh realities by getting lost in the forest with fluffy creatures only they can see, are acquired through multiple viewings. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself queuing this one up way more than your kids.

Stream it on Max

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

movie poster for fantastic mr fox
20th Century Studios

Known for helming quirky and beautifully composed cult films like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson’s first foray into animation went exactly as expected: quirky and beautifully composed. A stop-motion marvel from the auteur, this film is adapted from the story in Dahl’s literary canon and features the all-star voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and more. Not sure what you’ll love more, though: the wondery, the wit, the Whack-Bat?

Stream it on Hulu

Inside Out (2015)

© Pixar x Walt Disney Pictures

With so many modern classics in its superb catalog (Coco, Zootopia, Wall-E, Turning Red, Up), it’s nearly impossible to recommend just one Pixar movie that kids and parents will both enjoy. That said, Inside Out is a whole other animal. Ostensibly a kids’ movie about a girl’s journey through adolescence, the film was 100% made for parents. Not only will it pull on every heartstring, but the narrative—saturated with an emotional depth and sincerity we didn’t know toons could handle—really hits home. And keep the tissues handy, because the sequel hits theaters on June 14.

Stream it on Disney+

Sing (2016) and Sing 2 (2021)

Sing 2
Universal Studios

Who doesn’t love belting out chart-toppers like everyone is watching? The Sing series lets you and yours do just that. Set in a world of tonsil-happy anthropomorphic animals, the movies feature A-list stars performing songs off pop-heavy soundtracks, like Reese Witherspoon (Rosita, the pig Swiftie), Scarlett Johansson (Ash, the punk-rock porcupine), Taren Egerton (Johnny, the British gorilla), and Pharrell Williams (Alfonso, the smooth elephant). Stay tuned up, too, because Sing 3 is a go!

Stream the first two on Netflix and Amazon Freevee

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

production still from Spiderman:Across the Spiderverse
Sony Pictures

A genius reimagination of the Marvel classic, the Spider-Verse franchise casts an Afro-Latino hero in the lead, employs numerous styles of eye-popping animation and taps into a multiverse full of Spider boys, girls, and critters. With Into, Miles works alongside his alternate-dimension counterparts to save humanity, then heads even deeper into the multiverse in Across. Come July, Beyond the Spider-Verse will further prove this modern series more than deserves the hype.

Stream the first two on Fubo and Netflix


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